At Evolution News & Views, Richard Sternberg responds to Steve Matheson’s continued attacks on Signature in the Cell:
On Friday, May 14, I watched as Steve Meyer faced his critics—two of them anyway, Art Hunt and Steve Matheson—at Biola University in Los Angeles. Matheson had previously claimed that Meyer misrepresented introns in his book, Signature in the Cell. (Introns are non-protein-coding sequences of DNA that occur within protein-coding regions.) In a blog post dated February 14, Matheson had accused Meyer of “some combination of ignorance, sloth, and duplicity” for stating in his book that although introns do not encode proteins they nevertheless “play many important functional roles in the cell.”
Calling Meyer’s statement “ludicrous,” Matheson wrote on his blog that biologists have identified functional roles for only “a handful” of the 190,000 or so introns in the human genome:
How many? Oh, probably a dozen, but let’s be really generous. Let’s say that a hundred introns in the human genome are known to have “important functional roles.” Oh fine, let’s make it a thousand. Well, guys, that leaves at least 189,000 introns without function.
Matheson added that “there are more layers of duplicity in the ‘junk DNA’ fairy tale than Meyer has included in his book,” which (Matheson concluded) uses science to advance an agenda in which “rigorous scientific truth-telling is secondary.”
Naturally, I expected Matheson to bring up this devastating criticism at the Biola event on May 14. But he said nothing about Meyer’s “ludicrous” notions of intron functions that evening, and he was mum about all the other layers of duplicity that he claims to be privy to. This was probably wise, because Matheson is wrong about intron functionality.
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Andrew Klavan’s reference to the popular Bell Curve Meme calls to my mind a particularly provocative version of that Meme, in which the three figures representing the different levels of insight and intelligence address the relationship between science and belief in God. The dullard on the left-hand tail of the curve says, “don’t listen to science, all the answers come from God.” The representative of conventional wisdom sitting at the top of the curve says, “God isn’t real. You should trust the science.” But then, as in all versions of the meme, a twist occurs. The jedi-savant figure at the extreme right-hand tail of the curve reaffirms the existence of God because of, not in spite of, what science has Read More ›
Fred Hoyle, the astrophysicist, coined the phrase, “big bang,” to ridicule the idea that the universe had a beginning, a position which suited him as an atheist, materialist. But he changed his mind when the evidence indicated that the universe did have a beginning and that it was as finely tuned as a concert piano though with millions more interdependent variables that make possible our, Just right, Goldilocks universe. As Hoyle wrote, “the properties of the universe fall within narrow and improbable ranges that are absolutely necessary for any complex life forms to exist.” In The Return of the God Hypothesis, Stephen Meyer presents a variety of other scientists who may not have agreed with Hoyle but in one Read More ›
The first episode of the “Ancient Aliens” cable TV series promised to show that the growth of intelligent life on this planet had help that came from the stars. The Prometheus Entertainment summary in 2010 asked: “If ancient aliens visited Earth, what was their legacy, and did they leave behind clues” that still exist? The bigger question, nearly 200 episodes later, is whether aliens provided the building blocks of life itself. That’s the kind of subject — both theological and scientific — that surfaces whenever there are debates about whether extraterrestrial life exists. It’s one thing for a recent U.S. national intelligence report — “Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” — to discuss incomplete technical data and the possibility of hostile Read More ›